Scavenger's Reign 2023 series poster

Scavengers Reign Season 1 Review

Why I took it off the list:

I kept seeing this adult animation popping up on year-end lists of the best TV of the year.

Having heard it compared to Alex Garland’s underrated film Annihilation (which I’m a big fan of), I was eager to check it out.

And I was keen to review another animated series, as I hadn’t got around to seeing much recently. So, let’s dig in!

Review of Scavengers Reign (2023)

Heavily inspired by the work of French comic book artist Mœbius and the film Fantastic Planet (1973), Scavengers Reign‘s offbeat animation style may look familiar, but it’s incredibly unique and daring in its execution.

A lesser work would no doubt begin with the devastating accident that leaves a scattered group of spaceship crew stranded on an uninhabited and startlingly hostile alien planet.

However, Scavengers Reign largely bypasses this event and only shows it fleetingly throughout the show’s run (most notably in the short but effective opening titles and thereafter in flashbacks relevant to the main characters).

Instead, after a brief set-up where it becomes clear that no one is coming to look for the survivors, we’re thrown right into their attempts to tame and/or escape their beautiful but deadly surroundings.

It’s the first sign that this series is out to do something different, which only becomes thrillingly clearer as it progresses.

Bursting with Imagination

The pace of the story is somewhat slow, especially in the first few episodes when the characters are still being fleshed out.

But that doesn’t matter when the environments are so incredibly detailed and impressively animated, coming across as a blend of Fantastic Planet with a Hayao Miyazaki film.

The action frequently slows down to linger on frames teeming with vibrant life, creating a fully fleshed-out ecosystem that’s as disturbing as it is wondrous.

The amazing design extends to the creatures that inhabit this varied and utterly alien world — particularly the benign-looking but terrifying sentient beings called ‘Hollow’ (pictured above).

Although they possess such far-fetched powers as telekinesis and mind control, they also come across as animals that are neither good nor evil — just trying to survive.

Saying that, though, many of them are horrifying and quite grotesque: the many gruesome kill scenes are not for the squeamish!

Rich Characters and Story

Speaking of survival: what an incredible and deeply affecting story Scavengers Reign turns out to be.

You may think the breathtaking animation would cause the creators to rest on their laurels a bit when crafting a narrative, but you’d be wrong.

A big part of this is the carefully considered characters, many of them inherently heroic but not infallible, others hideously corrupted.

It takes us a while to get to properly know them, and even then many of their backstories are largely left a mystery.

But this makes sense are their thoughts are understandably focused on how to navigate the many deadly environments they must journey through.

Instead, we get to know them through their actions and come to love and root for the majority of them to get out of this nightmare alive.

But because this is a palpably dangerous place, and they are constantly put in peril, we know that might not happen.

When that realization comes to be a tragic reality, it hits: hard. So have some tissues at the ready!

Final score: 10/10

Scavengers Reign (2023): Worth Watching?

Yes, immediately, although sensitive viewers might be put off by some grotesque animated gore and an overall bleak tone.

However, if you don’t mind a bit of discomfort, this amazing and rewarding series excels in pretty much every way.

It would have made my list of the best TV shows of 2023 among the higher entries had I seen it earlier.

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